Immediate past President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has broken his silence over the crushing defeats he suffered along with other candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) in the 2019 general elections in Kwara state.
Saraki who broke the silence Tuesday in Abuja at a Virtual ocassion to mark the 2020 International Day of Democracy organised by the Centre for Advancement of Civil Liberties, said given his experience in the 2019 general elections, he believes there was a need for political actors to sometimes suppress the desire for power and take side with the survival of the system.
The former Senate President who now serves as chairman of Politiea Institute, added that such belief informed his acceptance of defeat in the Kwara Central senatorial election.
“When I argue that politicians should learn to accept election results and demonstrate patriotism even in the face of naked provocation, it is based on my experience.
“The lives of our people, the stability of our democracy and the peace of the society are more important than our personal interests or the inflated egos of the leaders,” he said.
He stressed that democracy can only grow if politicians get ready to play by the rules of the game at all times.
“Politicians must stop the mentality of electoral victory at all cost. The stability of the nation’s democracy and peace of the nation are definitely higher goals than the personal aspiration of individual politicians.
“Politicians must learn to always act in a manner that gives confidence to the people that truly, elections still provide the best process for sourcing leaders and kicking out those that are not wanted by the people.
“I want to also quickly point out that I am eminently qualified to pontificate on this, as I can use myself as an example. I went into elections in 2019 in Kwara State, our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and myself, lost the elections.
“We had our reservations on the credibility of the entire electoral process. We had good evidence of the illegal deployment of state forces and other undemocratic means to achieve the results declared by the electoral body.
“The whole country witnessed the level of desperation displayed by those who could not tolerate our guts to turn the election results against us.
“The utterances of the former chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, who continuously boasted about how his number one priority and objective was to win Kwara State by whatever means necessary, were well documented,” he added.
He noted that after the result of the 2019 elections was announced, he sent out messages to his followers, despite their anger and quest to express their grievances, that they should accept the result and maintain peace.
“To further demonstrate good faith and gracefulness in defeat, I refused to challenge the process at the tribunal,” he stressed.
He therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to use the forthcoming Edo and Ondo states governorship elections to demonstrate ECOWAS commitment to credible electoral process and the starting point for improved electoral system.
“This should be a starting point for our demand for a credible electoral process. Whilst we wait for the new Electoral Bill to be passed, we can begin to demand that the right things are done by all stakeholders in these elections,” he said.